WEDNESDAY 14 APR 2021 1:05 PM


Following the launch of an independent investigation into David Cameron’s lobbying activity, PR associations have called for a change in legislation and improved transparency in political communications.

After warning that lobbying would be Britain’s “next big scandal” back in 2010, David Cameron has faced controversy for lobbying the UK government on behalf of a Greensill Capital, a firm he was advising.

The former prime minister is no stranger to public relations, having previously worked as the director of corporate affairs for a television company before entering parliament.

PR professionals and lobbyists both play a role in communicating information internally and externally to the public. Transparency is paramount to maintaining public confidence in comms authenticity.

On 19 March, the CIPR called for a change in the current legislation which governs that lobbying in Westminster only requires that consult lobbying be registered while those paid lobbyists are protected from public knowledge and scrutiny. This is where Cameron has come under fire as he did not register or declare his lobbying activities, which involved meeting government officials for a private drink.

Rachael Clamp, chair of CIPR Public Affairs, says, "Too much lobbying activity is currently out of scope of lobbying legislation and that must change. The independent investigation into David Cameron’s lobbying of government provides the opportunity put in place new, wider reaching legislation that will drive greater transparency and a positive, and respected future for our profession."

Yesterday, it was announced that the PRCA Public Affairs Board has called for the Government to adopt six urgent recommendations to improve transparency, accountability and trust in the UK political system.

The six-point ‘Public Confidence Plan for Reform’ calls for the Government to extend the existing limitations on former Ministers taking paid lobbying positions by implementing a five-year ban, including in-house roles. It also calls for the Lobbying Act to be expanded to cover all of those engaged in lobbying, and for the award of Parliamentary Passes to be reviewed and tightened significantly.

The proposals aim to restore confidence in political decision-making processes following the Government’s announcement to open an inquiry into David Cameron’s lobbying activity for Greensill Capital.

Liam Herbert, PRCA Public Affairs Board chair, says, “The Lobbying Act is unfit for purpose. This inquiry is an opportunity for the government to reset its approach to lobbying regulation. Our industry has made concerted efforts uphold to public confidence but it’s now time for politicians to do the same. We stand ready to assist the government with these changes.”

MPs will today vote on the parliamentary inquiry into the lobbying scandal after Labour put forward plans to create a new Commons select committee to investigate lobbying and those individuals involved.